Batman board game will be exclusive to Kickstarter after publisher bemoans ‘unfair’ retail practices


Claims box would cost $250 in shops to account for added margins

The upcoming Batman board game from Conan studio Monolith will only ever be available through its Kickstarter campaign, the publisher has said.

Monolith has previously made a killing on the crowdfunding website, raising over $3.3 million for its hugely enjoyable adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s barbarian and $2.6 million for follow-up Mythic Battles: Pantheon.

It announced back in February that its next project would be a board game based on the Dark Knight, with a Kickstarter planned for early next year.

While Conan made its way into shops eventually, Monolith has confirmed that both Mythic Battles and Batman: The Board Game will be exclusive to Kickstarter to avoid what it described as the ‘unfair’ practices and financial impact involved with taking its games to retail.

“If we want to offer Batman: The Boardgame in retail, we would have to sell it to Asmodee at a fair price for our work, like any other board game publisher does,” the company wrote in response to a thread on BoardGameGeek.

“With all the intermediaries getting their own margin, the game would be sold around $250 in your local store. That is not something most of the local stores want to sell because it is a high price, and buying this from their distributors will immobilize a lot of their cash flow. They would rather buy 20 Spot It and be sure to sell them than offering a board game that already did (hopefully) well on Kickstarter.

“So, for the game to hit retail at a lower price, someone in the chain has to cut their margin and guess who...

“We could also downgrade the contents of the box but that would result in a weaker gameplay experience, which is not what we intend to do.”

Conan co-designer Frederic Henry added that Monolith was sacrificing a “huge amount” of money by selling the game through shops, claiming that “each time we sell a Conan game in retail we lose money”.

He responded to criticism over the idea of restricting availability to Kickstarter by saying: “We are perfectly aware that the 100% KS will put aside a lot of consumers... but that's better than jeopardize the company because of negative margin.”

“Huge blockbuster games just don’t fit with a system with so much intermediaries,” he continued, adding that Fantasy Flight and CMON were exceptions to the rule by also being able to distribute their games, unlike Monolith’s focus on publishing.

Although Batman: The Board Game will only be offered through its crowdfunding campaign, Monolith has moved to reassure players that, like Conan, the box will not be a one-and-done release, with plans for campaigns to fund future reprints and expansions.

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